10 Ways To Improve Your Presentation Skills

presentation skills, success skills, Forbes

As a Forbes Coaches Council member, I was asked to give a short answer to this question which was compiled with other council members and published.

My answer is #3 – I hope you get value from it!

Knowing how to deliver an idea is beneficial, no matter what line of business you’re in. But if you’ve tried everything in the books to improve your presentation skills and are still met with the kind of anxiety that causes you to break out in a cold sweat and stumble over your carefully planned words, it’s time to try a different approach.

Remember, speaking in front of people is a skill, not an innate ability. To help you nail your next presentation, 10 Forbes Coaches Council members offer their professional advice below:



Transform Your Inner Critic into Your Staunchest Ally

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramAre you plagued by internal doubts and self-criticism? Think you’re not good enough, or don’t deserve the success you long for? Do you find that even when you know what to do, you find all sorts of reasons not to do it?

We all carry an internal critic in our heads, and it never shuts up! And the more we fight against it, or try to argue it away… the more we know intellectually that it isn’t real… the louder and more insistent it gets.

Fortunately, there’s a better way. You can actually learn to befriend that voice, and turn it from your worst enemy to your most steadfast and supportive ally.

In this class you’ll discover:

  • Where that voice comes from and why we all have it
  • A range of tools and techniques to retrain the critics voice to be your ally (this can work with external critics too!)

Learning to work with your critics voice can transform your relationships, your business, your creativity, your life.

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

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Artists MBA, Professional ProgramBelieving that confidence is something that you have, something you can get, something someone else can give you – that is a misunderstanding.

Confidence is defined as: a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers. If you believe in your own power and ability, you will FEEL confident.

Confidence is an emotion. It is an emotion that is inspired by beliefs. As such, it is neither right, real or true. Therefore, you can choose it.

In this class you will:

  • examine the true nature of confidence
  • explore the beliefs that block your confidence
  • learn how to build your confidence

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

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Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access the following classes today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

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Confidence, as an issue, comes up for my clients, in one form or another, on an almost daily basis.  Over the years, I’ve worked with them to build their confidence and spent a lot of time reading, thinking and studying the issue.

I’ve observed that those who struggle with confidence can get a boost when something good happens in their life.  They experience some success or get positive feedback from someone they respect.  They go to a Conference or do a workshop and get pumped up and excited.  But often that feeling doesn’t last.  That’s because the emotions are externally motivated and don’t signify a true internal shift.

I think one of the challenges around creating confidence is a foundational misunderstanding of what it actually is.  Without really understanding what is happening and why, it is difficult to create a lasting internal shift from lacking in confidence to feeling fully confident.  And feeling fully confident will lead you to taking the actions you need to take to create success.

What is Confidence?

We tend to use the word in two ways:

  • Confidence is a feeling – I feel confident, or I feel unsure.  It is a description of how you feel and how that feeling causes you to behave – I step confidently up to the podium to speak.
  • Confidence is a belief – I am confident I can achieve this.  And it often implies a deeper set of beliefs about the nature of reality, a trust in the benevolence of the universe.

As I teach in Transform Your Belief – The Key to Success, the relationship between belief and emotion works like this:

And so confident beliefs/ideas/thoughts lead to being in a confident state or feeling confident.

In my experience, trying to change things at the level of feeling is extremely difficult and doesn’t tend to stick.  And “Acting as If” is exhausting.  While a positive result may make you feel better for a little while, because the underlying disempowering beliefs driving those emotions still exist, they will pull you back into the lower emotional state.  The only real lasting change comes from changing your beliefs/ideas/thoughts.

What I’ve found very interesting in doing this work, however, is that changing those thoughts is usually not nearly as hard as people expect.  Because you are a complex being, you have many different beliefs in your belief reservoir.  And those beliefs range from very disempowering to truly empowering. We just have habits about which belief we tend to inhabit.  Which belief we energize or activate moment-to-moment.

So, next time you find yourself feeling uncertain and need a confidence boost, try this:

Step One – Notice and Decide

Notice that you are feeling badly, unsure, self-conscious.  And decide that now is as good a time as any to feel more confident.

Step Two – Identify the Thought

What are you thinking/believing at this moment that has you feeling badly, unsure and self-conscious?  Can you put it into language, specifically?

For example, let’s say you’re going in for an interview, calling for a booking, auditioning for a gig.  And you’re feeling scared, nervous, and unsure.  Perhaps the thought is: “What if they don’t like me?”  Well, what would that mean about you?  Perhaps the underlying belief is, “I’ll never be successful.” Or “I’m a failure.”

Step Three – Choose a Different Thought

So, now that you’ve identified the thought that’s creating the feeling, pick a new thought about these circumstances THAT YOU ALREADY BELIEVE.

See that’s the key.  The mistake most people make with affirmations is that they pick an affirmation they wish they believed, but they don’t.  That’s too hard!  So, pick a belief that you really can get behind.

For example:

  • “The more I practice, the better I get.”
  • “If this opportunity doesn’t work out, there’s another one down the line.”
  • “However this goes, I’ll learn from it and improve.”

See, it doesn’t have to be in direct opposition in order to shift how you feel.  Try just tweaking it by about 10 degrees.

Step Four – Keep Thinking That Thought – On Purpose

Keep thinking it, find evidence for it.  Notice how and where it’s true.  Notice when you’re thinking something else and choose to think this thought instead.  Look for all the ways its true some more.  And think it again.

It’s not that you’ll never have those other thoughts again.   It’s not that you’ll never feel badly again.  It’s that when you do – you’ll know that you can always change your mind.  Just think a different thought.


Debra Russell Recommends

The Online Self Improvement and Self Help is the most complete guide to information about Self -Improvement, Personal Growth and Self Help on the Internet. It is designed to be an organized directory, with articles and references to thousands of other Web Sites on the World Wide Web.

Check out:



Debra Recommends Turning Passions Into Profits

Debra Russell recommends, Christopher Howard, NLP, Hypnosis, success

Turning Passions Into Profits

– 3 Steps to Wealth & Power
by Christopher Howard

This is a book by my NLP and Hypnosis teacher.  What surprised me about this book was what it wasn’t.  It wasn’t another “follow your bliss” woo-woo book.  And it wasn’t a “Business” book.  It is a concrete instruction manual to use other people’s success as your model to create your own success.

Here’s what Amazon has to say:

Product Description

Turning Passions Into Profits provides specific techniques for rapidly closing the gap between where you are today and where you’d like to be tomorrow. In this book, Christopher Howard teaches powerful, innovative tools for modeling and replicating the ultimate success of some of the world’s greatest leaders and billionaires. With the ability to select and incorporate some of the traits, strategies, thought patterns, and behaviors of those already achieving results, individuals can plot a course and arrive at a chosen destination quicker than they ever thought possible. It provides concrete tools and strategies to fully understand the governing principles outstanding achievers use to realize their vision.
In addition, Turning Passions Into Profits supplies exercises to apply these communication and leadership tools to master these skills-ultimately gaining career, financial, and personal success.

From the Inside Flap

What invisible boundaries come between people and their dreams?

Isn’t the playing field the same for everyone?

How can ordinary people break away from the pack?

Why do some people enjoy phenomenal success in everything they do?

In Turning Passions into Profits, Chris Howard, a leading authority on personal influence and effectiveness, helps readers break through boundaries to achieve wealth and power. He gives eye-opening insight into the playing field and the rules of the game of life, and provides innovative techniques and concrete tools for expanding the playing field, rewriting the rules, and winning the game.

Each individual’s personal rule book is based on learned behavior and personal experiences that shape his or her perspectives. Turning Passions into Profits helps readers recognize and overcome their stifling, self-imposed rules and limitations and move toward a more fulfilling and rewarding future.

“Change your focus and take charge of your life” is Howard’s mantra. He provides actionable techniques to get readers on the fast track from today’s frustrating status quo to tomorrow’s infinite possibilities. This inspiring, empowering book includes thought-provoking exercises to complete and strategies to incorporate into every facet of life, including Creation Technologies, modeling, Strategic Visioning, building teams and rapport, and communicating with power. Readers learn about six hallmarks of powerful communications that influence people and special techniques to inspire confidence.

For years, Howard has studied the lives and characteristics of a diverse group of people, some from quite ordinary backgrounds, who became extraordinarily successful, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela. He zeroes in on common characteristics and shares his insight to help readers learn from and emulate the strategies of the masters.

Turning Passions into Profits is part practical, part philosophical, and all-powerful. It’s not a one-time read; it’s a lifetime reference for those who want to quickly close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

Buy Turning Passions into Profits now



Debra Recommends A Cure for the Common Life

The Cardinal Rules of Self-Esteem

by Catherine Cardinal, PhD

This book, originally titled the Ten Commandments of Self-Esteem was written by my dear friend, Catherine.   Going beyond what we already know about self-esteem, she offers simple, clear steps that will lead you into the life you deserve.


A CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE: THE CARDINAL RULES OF SELF-ESTEEM is a small but deceptively powerful book that pinpoints 10 specific ways to recognize the root cause of common emotional problems and, at the same time, determine a realistic course for improvement. What makes this book different from so many other “self-esteem” books is author Dr. Catherine Cardinal and her instinctive, straightforward ability to connect with the heart of the problem. Her compassionate and honest comments then provide a realistic view of the many options we have before the next step.

Written in a clear, thoughtful, all-embracing, and entertaining style, Dr. Catherine Cardinal gives you the confidence and support to finally take that giant leap – and change for your own good.

Buy The Cure for the Common Life now


Debra Recommends The Success Principles

Debra Russell recommends, Jack Canfield, success, law of attraction, chicken soup for the soul,

How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer

From Jack’s Website:

Jack Canfield, co-creator of the phenomenal bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, turns to the principles he’s studied, taught and lived for more than 30 years in this practical and inspiring guide that will help you get from where you are to where you want to be.

The Success Principles will teach you how to increase your confidence, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose, and realize all your ambitions. Not merely a collection of good ideas, this book spells out the 64 timeless principles used by successful men and women throughout history. And the fundamentals are the same no matter what your profession or circumstances—even if you’re a student, stay-at-home mom or currently unemployed.

It doesn’t matter if your goals are to be the top salesperson in your company, become a leading architect, score straight A’s in school, lose weight, buy your dream home or make millions of dollars—the principles and strategies are the same.

After learning the basics of success, you’ll move on to tackling the important inner work needed to transform yourself. Next, get ready to build your “success team” and expand all your most important relationships. Finally, because success always includes financial prosperity, you’ll learn to develop a positive money consciousness along with habits that can ensure you’ll be able to live the lifestyle you want—while keeping the importance of tithing and service central to your financial life.

Taken together and practiced every day, these principles will transform your life beyond your wildest dreams!

Filled with memorable and inspiring stories of CEO’s, world-class athletes, celebrities, and everyday people. The Success Principles will give you the courage and the heart to start living the principles of success today!

You’ll learn:

  • How to change the outcome of any event, simply by changing your response to it
  • How to access powerful mentors and friends who’ll open doors for you
  • How to complete past projects, heal past relationships and process old hurts, so you can embrace the future
  • How to prepare and be instantly ready when opportunity comes knocking
  • How to implement the unique time management system that insures you’ll have time to focus on success
  • How to say “no” to the good, so you’ll have room in your life to say “yes” to the great
  • How to ask for and get everything you want…from people who can give it to you
  • Why you should drop out of the “Ain’t It Awful” Club and instead surround yourself with successful, positive and nurturing people
  • How to maximize your success with money, your finances, your future…and so much more! 

The Jack Canfield Success Store Buy The Success Principles now


Debra Recommends The Magic of Thinking Big

Debra Russell recommends, law of attraction, success skills, belief, goalsby David J. Schwartz

I recommend this book with one caveat. I’ve seen clients mistake fantasy for goals. Setting goals to make $10,000/month from their music in 3 months when they’re currently barely pulling in $50 a week from their music. Yes – it is key to think big. And it’s also important to make a plan with incremental steps to reach the big picture.

On the other hand, if you decide that you could never reach your dreams because their too big to be realistic – well, you will indeed be proved right. Not because you couldn’t reach them but because you were unable to take the risk of thinking big. And that’s why this book is a critical piece of your entrepreneurial mindset.

Amazon says:

One of the world’s foremost authorities on motivation, Schwartz shows how thinking big can bring big results. Learn how to set high goals and exceed them in a big way with this easy, step-by-step approach.

Buy The Magic of Thinking Big now

Debra Recommends The Law of Attraction

Debra Russell recommends, law of attraction, success skills, belief

The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham

by Esther and Jerry Hicks

This book has had a profound affect on my experience of my world. Ironically enough, much of my growth around this area started with Seth Speaks which I read around the same time that Esther Hicks discovered it.  Having lived in Sedona I have a healthy mistrust of things woo-woo – but I’ve personally experienced things in my life that could only be explained by the Law of Attraction and implementing these concepts actively and intentionally has changed my life for the good.

Amazon’s review:

This book presents the powerful basics of the original Teachings of Abraham. Within these pages, you’ll learn how all things, wanted and unwanted, are brought to you by this most powerful law of the universe, the Law of Attraction. (that which is like unto itself is drawn). You’ve most likely heard the saying “Like attracts like,” “Birds of a feather flock together,” or “It is done unto you as you believe” (a belief is only a thought you keep thinking); and although the Law of Attraction has been alluded to by some of the greatest teachers in history, it has never before been explained in as clear and practical terms as in this latest book by New York Times best-selling authors, Esther and Jerry Hicks.

Learn here about the omnipresent Laws that govern this Universe and how to make them work to your advantage. The understanding that you’ll achieve by reading this book will take all the guesswork out of daily living. You’ll finally understand just about everything that’s happening in your own life as well as in the lives of those you’re interacting with. This book will help you to joyously be, do, or have anything that you desire!

Buy this book now